UK: Nexus has awarded framework agreements to five companies - Balfour Beatty Rail, BAM Nuttall, May Gurney, Serco and Morgan Sindall - as part of its £385 'all change' programme to modernise the Tyne & Wear metro (RG 1.09 p32).

The government is providing £350m, with the remainder funded by local investment. The 11-year programme includes refurbishment or replacement of tracks, power lines, signalling, stations and trains.

Refurbishment of the 90-strong Metrocar fleet is already underway. Nexus says it plans to spend £38m during the current financial year, including the start of track renewals on the 10 km section between Tynemouth and Byker.

Serco and Scheidt & Bachmann have also signed a £4m contract to manage the replacement of ticket vending machines across the network.